Copyright — Adam Ickes
This is my June story for Storybook Corner hosted by Adam Ickes. Each story is supposed to be from 300 to 500 words in length, or longer if thought necessary, and be inspired by the photo prompt provided that month by Adam.
Genre: Horror Fiction
Word Count: 496
SHE STILL LIVES by P.S. Joshi
As old as oxygen, she now lived in the sewers of the city; there were no more caves. Caves were what she craved; cool and damp with the scent of the earth and the different animals that came. Eating them had filled her with strength and increased her power over life. Immortal, she wouldn’t have understood death.
Rats were plentiful, but she ate little these days and could feel her energy drain. Sewage was gradually sickening her. She only knew she felt different. Was her life force leaving her after all these ages? What could she do? Survival once meant moving from caves to the sewer. Should she move out and seek other cover?
At times, other strange animals came, but didn’t stay long. They did something to the hard, hollow vines in her lair. Hiding was her protection against these animals. She hadn’t thought of them as prey; should she? They could be captured. Why not?
Raking her claws on the walls of her lair sharpened them. Saliva streamed down her chin as she thought of her new prey. This prey would take strength as did larger animals of long ago
Rob and Sid climbed down into the Summit Street sewer. A leak had been reported and they had to inspect for it. Sid was slender, Rob stocky. They started down the tunnel.
About one block along, Rob thought he heard footsteps, the splash of feet in the water. Something large moved off to one side. “Who would want to be down here besides us?” he asked in disgust. “It’s filthy and stinks.”
Sid had moved slightly ahead. He heard Rob’s last words, “…and stinks.” He heard no more. Turning, he glanced back. “What the hell?” Rob had disappeared. “Rob. Rob.” A patch of blood was smeared on the sewer wall, but nothing else.
Sid froze in place. That kind of fear hadn’t ripped though him since Afghanistan when he survived an attack by the Taliban. It all returned like a dreaded dream. His flight response struck in a rush and he started running until he spotted the next metal ladder. Grabbing for it, he climbed upward. In a surge of desperate strength he raised the heavy manhole cover which thumped onto the pavement. Boosting himself onto the night street, he laid still on the cool pavement, sucking in the night air. His heart banged so hard against his ribs it threatened to burst through.
Within hours, a crime scene unit searched the sewer. They found no body, just shredded clothing and blood.
It seemed she’d traveled a great distance from the city with the body of her latest prey balanced on her shoulders. At last she found a new cave, actually an old mine. Others like this one she carried were nearby in a small gathering of animal-made caves. She would now have all she needed to survive.